Derek Hunter

There’s desperation. Then there’s the Obama-Biden re-election campaign’s fundraising operation.

Remember that Seinfeld episode where George Costanza, because he’s cheap and didn’t want to buy co-workers anything for Christmas, gave everyone a card saying a gift had been made in their name to the “Human Fund”? The Human Fund didn’t exist. George made it up because he was just that cheap.

But those “I gave your gift to someone else” charitable donations do exist. I get a few of them every year from people who shouldn’t be giving me gifts in the first place. It never occurred to me to check and see if the charity actually exists.

I’ve worked at a few non-profits, organizations whose existence is based upon the donations of others. I was in policy and thankfully never had to ask anyone for a donation, but I was in the room a lot when those asks happened. I could never, ever do it, but I’m thankful people who can are out there.

So I’m not unfamiliar with the concept of asking for donations. But those donations are never requested of people without jobs or who don’t have the money to donate. The potential donors knew what was coming precisely because they could afford it.

That’s what makes the latest tactic from the Obama-Biden re-election campaign so weird.

The “Obama event registry” is something new in politics – an ask that couples who are getting married forego gifts and money to help the president. And it’s not just limited to weddings. They want birthday and anniversary money, too.

The whole text of the “ask” would be a hilarious parody post if shameless reality hadn’t beaten The Onion to it. Here it is:

Got a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up?

Let your friends know how important this election is to you—register with Obama 2012, and ask for a donation in lieu of a gift. It’s a great way to support the President on your big day. Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate—and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.

Setting up and sharing your registry page is easy—so get started today. (link removed)

Take a second and reread that. I’ll wait.

Can you believe a President of the United States, or even a candidate for dog catcher, would think that is a good idea?

“Hey young couples just starting out, instead of creating a nest egg, saving for a down-payment for a house or simply paying for your wedding and reception, give your money to the President!” It’s the audacity of self-importance.

This tactlessness got me thinking – what other sorts of “asks” could the Obama 2012 team come up with?

“Do you have a terminal disease? That’s a tragedy, just as President Obama not winning a second term would be a tragedy. So as you get your affairs in order don’t forget to add the campaign to your last will and testament. Your family can have your furniture; we just want your cash. If you can survive long enough to sell the furniture, that’d be peachy. Cash is king, you know.

The campaign probably will find a more subtle way to make that ask. But a slogan is needed for this latest shamelessness:

“Help me fight corporate greed by giving me your kid’s birthday money!”

“Honeymoons are for suckers!”

“Since we’re all in the same boat, why not make it the Titanic?”

“President Obama already screwed your kid’s future, so why not let him screw their present too?”

“You can keep the money from your second marriage. Obama needs your cash now!”

“Seriously, if the concept of this appeals to you at all you should just send in all your money because you’ll probably just end up spending it all on meth.”

Jokes aside, this ploy just shows the desperation of the Obama campaign. The cash squeeze has begun. There are only so many vapid movie stars they can lure to their $40,000-per-plate dinners. New cash cows must be found to milk.

Mitt Romney is now raising more money than President Obama. That’s not just a sign of his failure on the economy, it’s an indication his former big donors have lost faith in his ability to govern effectively. One can hide incompetence only so long.

That the campaign would think this would work and not be a public-relations disaster shows how out of touch it is. Or how much staffers have bought into the Obama “cult of personality.”

Whatever the case, there’s no reason to think this venture won’t be as big a disaster as the president’s term has been for the economy. But if you want to balance things out, my birthday was Friday. In lieu of contributing to President Obama’s campaign, send cash to me. Thanks in advance.


Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.